Magdalena Yesil, a co-founder of Cybercash Inc., announced this week that she has left the company to form her own electronic commerce firm.
"I am very much a start-up person - that's the phase of companies I love and enjoy working in," said Ms. Yesil, who has spent the last two years as Cybercash's vice president of marketing and technology, based in Redwood City, Calif.
The company, which has its headquarters in Reston, Va., has developed secure payment systems for the Internet. In February, the company made an initial public offering, selling 2.4 million shares for $34 million.
On Tuesday, following Ms. Yesil's announcement, Cybercash's stock dropped to an all-time low of $26.25 per share.
But Cybercash officials described her departure as amicable.
"She is a good friend of the company, and I'm sure will remain so," said chief financial officer Gene Riechers, who has taken over Ms. Yesil's role as the company's press spokesman.
Ms. Yesil, who lives in Palo Alto, Calif., said she plans to spend six to nine months "formulating and launching" her new venture.
The yet-to-be-named firm will focus on Internet commerce. "Hopefully, it will be the next hot start-up in Silicon Valley," Ms. Yesil said.
Ms. Yesil, 37, has worked as a semiconductor design engineer for Advanced Micro Devices and as a management consultant for Booz-Allen & Hamilton.
Prior to joining Cybercash, she worked as an independent consultant, specializing in commercial uses of the Internet.
Mr. Riechers chalked up Ms. Yesil's career move to the turbulent nature of the industry. "These things happen in technology companies, where senior executives go on to form their own firms," he said.
Mr. Riechers said Cybercash has "built a very strong management team." He added, "I think we have pretty substantial management depth going forward."
Mr. Riechers cited two recent recruits: Denis Yaro , a development manager who previously worked for Sun Microsystems; and Richard Crone, a vice president and general manager who had been a well-regarded electronic banking consultant.
Mr. Crone said Ms. Yesil had done "a tremendous job for us at Cybercash."
"We're really creating a whole new business stream, and the talent is in short supply," he said. "We were fortunate to have someone of Magdalena's depth, breadth, and experience to work us through that embryonic stage."
Cybercash's flagship product is an electronic "wallet" that enables consumers to purchase merchandise on the Internet with a credit card. Mr. Crone oversees the company's effort to enhance its wallet by adding an electronic check function.
This month, the company plans to begin testing an electronic coin feature, which consumers could use to make Internet micropayments.